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The world’s largest (by sales in 2011) and America’s biggest auto manufacturer General Motors (GM) ironically have failed to make any impression on the booming Indian Automobile market over the years. With exception of very few, GM models have failed miserably. Chevrolet Optra and Beat have tasted success whereas Chevrolet Aveo, U-VA, Captiva, Optra SRV were not so lucky. Interestingly not even 1% of the Indian population would know that there existed a car named Chevy Optra SRV.
Why did these models failed? Were they inferior? Did they lack modern technology? Were they over-priced? Can GM give an excuse that the competition had better models?? So why the world’s largest auto company fares so badly here? Lack of proper strategy? Ineffective administrative heads? Poor marketing of products? One would like to question GM intentions behind launching a new model since in the past it has not being able to deliver long time support to any of its models in India.
Take the case of the Chevrolet Optra, once a successful model now it can hardly be seen on the streets. Sleek and elegant, the Optra could have made itself a name in the books of Indian auto history but because of GM it didn’t. And the same goes with the Tavera. The Spark may soon face the same fate. Of all the successful models in the market, each one of them had one thing in common, a factor that plays a critical role to gain trust of the people, fidelity of the manufacturer to its model. Periodic upgrades, after sales service and support, wide service network, availability and cost of spares are also important factors contributing to success of a vehicle.
When it comes to fidelity, only few companies like Hyundai can brag about it. With exception of very few, it has nurtured all its models equally over years and no doubt this has been a major reason for its success and large share in the market. One can blindly put faith in any new launch from Hyundai and it will not disappoint you. Do people tend to favour more established brands or cars even though they are comparatively new in the sub-continent?
German auto giant Volkswagen (VW) has taken the Indian market by storm. VW’s Polo, Vento and Jetta are selling like hot cakes giving the more established manufacturesand their models a run for their money. Two completely opposite tales. Japanese Nissan with its Micra and Sunny has also made an image for itself in the increasingly competitive scenario. These two have created a better brand image than GM’s Chevrolet. The brand Chevrolet has take a big beating over the years for its inconsistency
GM, Toyota, Volkswagen took top 3 slots for worldwide sales in 2011, still GM accounts negligible share in India whereas Toyota and now Volkswagen have been successful till date. Questions still need to be asked and answered by the leaders of GM in India. Rather GM India might have to reconsider its administrative profile by bringing in better leaders in India. Its only the Beat, that has kept the GM alive and with the addition of Cruze, GM will hope for another resurrection only to fall again if it doesn’t do justice to its existing models. It takes years to earn a name and name definitely matters in India.
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